Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category.

Check out: The artwork of Dominic Wilcox

I really enjoyed this short film, The Reinvention of Normal, about the artist Dominic Wilcox.

Wilcox makes strange objects, such as a soccer ball that you can put fruit inside so it becomes a smoothie as you kick it around.

He makes a lot of things like that, and he describes in the film how making a lot of things quickly has helped him tap into his creative instincts in a clarifying way.

As a person who derives an immense amount of joy from puttering around in my own workshop, making a lot of stupid things that occasionally end up not always being stupid, I am quite drawn to this line of thinking.

“I enjoy the playfulness,” he says, over footage of a car he designed covered completely in stained glass. “and just doing things — even though they’re completely ridiculous sometimes. So what? Let’s do the ridiculous. And by doing the ridiculous, something else might come of it!”

Here’s another video, as well, of him giving a talk at a conference… The first seven minutes are the same video above, and then there’s another bit with him explaining and demonstrating some of the strangers things he’s made, like the stained-glass car, or a set of GPS-enabled bespoke-leather shoes.

“It’s always difficult to describe what I am,” he says in the talk. “I work between art, design, invention, technology, craft… Really, I’m just a person who’s trying to be as creative as I possibly can be.”

Roll-a-Sketch drawings from Maker Faire!

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Here are a few of the many Roll-a-Sketch drawings I did at Maker Faire this year!

Thank you to everyone who came by and said hello; I saw a lot of returning faces. Maker Faire is a super fun environment to be immersed in for a few days — you’re surrounded by robots, and art cars, and 3D printers, and drones, and everyone’s just interesting. I had many lovely and surprising conversations with creative folks.

I have never been to any of the other, subsidiary Maker Faires — only the flagship show in San Mateo, which has a wholly enclosed, Vatican-City-style craft fair section that is technically what I am there as part of. But in the coming year I hope to make fewer papergoods and more tangible “weird things” so who knows, there may be room for me at another city’s Maker Faire yet.

FLAMINGO + TELEPHONE:

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BLENDER + ROLLER DERBY:

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SNOWMAN + BUG:

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PUNISHER + 8-BALL:

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VEGETABLE + VIKING + BATMAN + CINDER BLOCK:

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BLENDER + COP + BUTLER + BEAR:

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WALRUS + HELICOPTER + DOLPHIN + 8-BALL:

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ALSO: We’re getting close to the end of May, which means it’s time to reveal the Wondermark Cast Card that’ll be going out to Patreon subscribers!

This month’s card features Boutrous, the camel from the classic Wondermark #558, “In which a Camel is merely ordinary”.

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(This particular comic was also narrated in audio form by voice actor SungWon Cho, here. It’s…super good.)

The monthly Patreon Cast Card subscription, so far, has been going out to a HIGHLY EXCLUSIVE GROUP. Later in the year, there will be another new “achievement” Cast Card that you’ll be able to get in a different way… And of course, the Roll-a-Sketch “Patron of the Arts” card is available at all my convention appearances this year.

Thank you very much to all you Patreonauts, at any level! We’re very close to a $500 goal that will prompt the start of a monthly annotation series, in which I go back through the archives and puzzle out just what I was thinking for comics deep in the archive.

Last month we crossed the THIRTEEN YEAR MARK with Wondermark. A decade ago, I was a very different person, in a very different place in my life. I don’t write comics the same way now as I did then, mostly for the better (I hope), but who knows. I think it’ll be interesting to go back and interrogate my younger self. That’ll become a monthly thing once we crest $500 on Patreon.

I am very grateful for your support via any method: Patreon, the store, saying hello at a show, or just a word to a friend. I’m thankful for every kindness — it’s always been, and continues to be, a privilege to do this for you, and by reading this you are by definition a Cool Person with Good Taste.

NICE

WORK

Making Stuff With Lasers

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I’m at Maker Faire this weekend in San Mateo! I’ll be in the “San Francisco Bazaar” tent, near the flame-belching Wurlitzer.

I’ve been making some new things in the ol’ workshop: laser-engraved magnets!

I’ll have these at the show this weekend, and other shows throughout the year. (They’ll probably go online too, eventually.)

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WE HOLD THESE TRUTHS TO BE SELF-EVIDENT:

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The Joy of Mismatching Photo Captions

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Unlike most clickbait-y websites like Buzzfeed or Upworthy, the article links on Huffington Post are special.

They’re arranged in a vertical format: a headline, followed by a photo, followed by a headline, followed by a photo.

This means it’s really easy to pair the photo with the wrong headline.

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I’ve started to read the whole website that way, now.

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It’s a vast improvement.

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I’ve been doing it a lot. I sort of can’t stop myself.

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Unpredictable juxtapositions are funny. It’s the notion behind Cards Against Humanity or the Garfield Randomizer. (Or the Cyanide and Happiness Random Comic Generator, which is the Venn diagram intersection of those two things.)

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Today, I started a new Twitter account to collect, display, and preserve in amber the best of these incorrect matchups.

It’s extraordinarily stupid. You can follow at @WrongCaptions.

Check out: GeoGuessr, the Google Maps game

My newest obsession is GeoGuessr, a game that places you at a random point in the world (via Google Maps Street View) and makes you guess where you are.

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You can navigate around as much as you like, looking for identifying clues (such as signs or landmarks) before making your guess. You can play specific maps (restricted to a country or even a city), or let it plop you down anywhere that Google has mapped. You can also play specific challenges created by other people.

This is basically the perfect game for me. I don’t really want to fight bosses or solve reflex-based challenges; I just want to wander around and explore and discover things. And the fact that you’re exploring the real, actual world is so much fun, for someone like me who’s into geography: you start looking at billboards and bus signs and pieces of trash on the side of the road as if they are clues placed for you in a video game, freighting it all with a larger meaning that’s barely outside your grasp, believing that you can unravel the puzzle with the clues you were meant to find.

Siberia.

There are a lot of roads in the world, so when set to random, I’ve found that GeoGuessr often lands me on some lonesome highway in the middle of nowhere. To me, that first moment feels just as quest-like as the start of any video game (except the NPCs are very unhelpful).

Mexico.

These are challenging rounds, to be sure. Yesterday I clicked through a windy, backwoods Australian road for ten or fifteen minutes before finding any sort of signage that I could read. It’s not fun, for most definitions of fun, but it was absolutely interesting.

Texas.

You can navigate around in Street View, and you can also explore the world map in as much detail as you like. (But the game never shows you where you are, of course, and you can’t search on the map.)

Much of the time, I end up poring over the map in eye-watering close-up, scanning unknown regions for an Argentine or Turkish town name that matches one I’ve found in Street View.

It’s a game that you can always win, if you’re patient and nitpicky enough. I’m not, every time. But when I can figure it out, it’s extremely satisfying.

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No video game designed by a human (except maybe Desert Bus) would make you click through a Mexican desert for twenty minutes before you got to anything useful, or reward the player who’s able to look through a map of Brazil for the longest time.

But I accept it in GeoGuessr, because the game world is the real world. If I don’t know enough about the real world to identify a name, or a landmark, or a type of terrain quickly, then it becomes a chance to figure it out. I am pretty good at recognizing languages on signs, and yesterday I learned all about how the Japanese organize their highway numbering systems vs. how the French do it.

It’s not all desolate roads, of course. You often land in cities, or once, the game spawned me inside an enclosed Tunisian parking lot with no route back out to the main road. (I got a very poor score on that round.) The game navigation is limited to what Google has mapped, so some areas are poorly photographed, or the navigation is incomplete. That, I think, is all part of the fun.

That said, let’s be clear: clicking around through a map of France or Wales or Texas looking for a specific road number or town name — on a map that hides small towns and roads when you’re zoomed out — is tedious.

But doing so has the effect of showing me how big the world really is, which I think we sometimes forget. I love it for that.

Play GeoGuessr in your browser, for free.

Loads of people play GeoGuessr on YouTube, too.